Coping With Image Retention and Burn-in

Digital advertising, digital out of home (Dooh) and outdoor digital signage may use similar technology as our home and office TVs but the concept for using LCD displays for advertising, branding and information is a totally different one.

Digital signage is not TV and while moving images and transitions are used they are often kept to a minimum to ensure important information like company or products names are the most noticeable.

Image retention used to be a problem with home TVs, especially plasma screens when they first emerged but fortunately the problem has been all but eliminated thanks to improvements with the technology; however, because of the increased use of static images the problems of image retention (LCD) or burn-in (plasma) are more common with digital signage.

It is common for some AV and panel manufacturers to provide recommendations for digital signage use to reduce the risk of image burn, such as:

  • Operating the display only with the specified temperature range
  • Ensure images change regularly and static areas are kept to a minimum
  • Power down the display after a certain amount of time – commonly less than 12 hours per day

This is not good for digital signage users who need to maximise exposure to generate a return on their investment – if that means the screen is off for twelve hours a day that could be a 50 percent reduction in viewing figures.

There are better solutions to ensure that the screen you are using for digital signage does not suffer any LCD image retention or plasma burn in and that is ensure the screen housed in a relevant LCD enclosure that can help transfer some of the heat away.

LCD enclosures use several methods to avoid screen burn. Cooling fans are commonly installed to transfer heat away from the LCD (or plasma) but for screens that are in direct sunlight or are more likely to be at risk of screen burn/retention because of their content then more complicated systems are used such as using an air curtain in front of he screen to carry the excess heat away.

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